Over the past several months, generative AI technology such as ChatGPT has been the subject of a great deal of speculation, much of it focused on its potential to transform businesses and perform jobs ranging from writing social media posts to generating computer code to interviewing and hiring new employees.

As OpenAI releases GPT-4, its newest update to ChatGPT that it promises is “more creative and collaborative than ever,” the discussion is likely to continue. With this update, the AI system can now parse images as well as text and remember and act on longer texts, up to 20,000 words. Along with increased creativity, OpenAI says the platform “can solve difficult problems with greater accuracy,” addressing a criticism of earlier releases.

Some corners of the business world have been quick to jump on the moneymaking potential of the new technology. As a recent article in The Verge put it: “On YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, a motley assortment of established and would-be financial influencers are pumping out videos advising how you — yes, YOU — could be making tens of thousands of dollars in your sleep with the help of OpenAI’s chatbot.”

With headlines like “How to Earn up to $1000 Every Day Using ChatGPT” and “How I made $6,147 Within 7 Days,” they offer advice on how to use the chatbot to create browser extensions, write speeches, generate social media videos, and more, even if you have no prior knowledge of the topic.

Established businesses are taking a more cautious approach to turning over important tasks and sensitive information to generative AI.

A Walmart memo warned employees against sharing corporate and customer information with AI technology after "activity that presented risk to our company." Amazon also warned staff against sharing code or confidential company information with the chatbot. JPMorgan Chase temporarily limited use of the platform by global staff over compliance concerns.

As with other significant new technologies, generative AI presents new risks, obstacles, and considerations for businesses that might be weighing its use for important business functions.

Privacy and confidentiality concerns

Data entered into an AI app may not be kept private. For example, it could be used by the AI maker to improve learning and thereby improve their services. Using an AI chatbot for tasks such as revising business strategy, doing software programming, or completing human resources tasks could potentially involve sharing trade secrets, confidential information, personal information, or proprietary code. Companies need to reconcile the potential benefits of using the technology with privacy and confidentiality restrictions from their own policies, third-party agreements, and the law.

Regulatory concerns

Among regulated business, using generative AI as part of business operations requires an understanding of how AI-generated materials fit into regulatory requirements.

Intellectual property

Businesses also need to consider the intellectual property considerations related to materials created by generative AI, including whether and how materials generated by means other than a human author can be subject to copyright or patent protection.

Quality and accuracy

The quality of materials created by generative AI remains a major consideration. Technology Q&A site Stack Overflow chose to temporarily ban ChatGPT-generated answers to coding questions because while many of the answers looked plausible, they were incorrect. Science fiction magazine Clarkesworld recently decided to cut off submissions after receiving a flood of poorly written AI-generated stories. Even as AI learning improves, companies choosing to use it need to establish policies and practices to ensure that the products created with the help of AI meet quality and accuracy standards.

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